[imagesource: Tolga Akmen / AFP via Getty Images]
We’re all (overly) familiar with the impressionist artist Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night, Sunflowers, Irises, loopy bedroom scenes, and lopsided self-portraits.
Too many of us have one or more of these masterpieces recreated on our socks, bags, and T-shirts as a cool nod to how ‘artsy’ we are – I refuse to believe that it’s just me.
But I bet doting fans of the one-eared wonder – also, one of the most important and popular artists in the world (in the ‘artsy’ kind’s defence) – never knew about this secret painting that has just come to light.
The National Galleries of Scotland just discovered a previously unknown van Gogh self-portrait during an X-ray of one of his other paintings.
During a routine examination of the Dutch artist’s Head of a Peasant Woman, which was completed in 1884 or 1885, for an upcoming exhibition, the gallery’s conservators came across the hidden gem.
Behind layers of glue and cardboard at the back of the canvas, a scratchy-looking man with a beard in a brimmed hat and neckerchief, believed to be van Gogh himself, was peeping out:
Robb Report has a word from the gallery:
“Moments like this are incredibly rare,” Frances Fowle, the senior curator of French art at the National Galleries, said in a statement.
“What an incredible gift for Scotland, and one that will forever be in the care of the National Galleries. We are very excited to share this thrilling discovery in our big summer exhibition ‘A Taste for Impressionism.’”
Hold your horses, though – that image you see is merely the X-ray image. The actual portrait is still under heaps of glue and cardboard and will need to be delicately prised out by professionals over time.
Van Gogh was a master recycler – being poor and all, I suppose he had no choice – and would often paint over works or use the opposite side of the canvas as a way to save money.
In fact, a couple of other verso portraits have been discovered, with five examples hanging in Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum and others housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Connecticut, and the Kunstmuseum Den Haag in the Hague.
You can see this latest one if you happen to be in Scotland for the upcoming Royal Scottish Academy exhibit.
‘A Taste for Impressionism’ will be on view from July 30 to November 13.
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